FOSSIL fools look away. Ford’s now making more all-electric Mustangs than it is internal combustion ones.
I use the term because that’s the one a couple of Champion readers used after I suggested in this column a couple of weeks ago that a decade-old Nissan Leaf with a 45-mile range was not a smart buy. It still isn’t.
You pointed out that my hypothetical hop to IKEA and back would have been punctuated by charging points, including a couple at the Swedish furniture purveyor... ...and you’re absolutely right.
However, I’m interested not in what a car runs on or whether it’ll please the leaders of the G7 – I’m interested in whether it’s any good. And one with a range reduced to 45 miles ten years down the line, I’m afraid, isn’t.
But what’s abundantly clear is that zero emissions offerings have been getting better and better every year and at a rate of improvement that’s outpacing the petrol options. Could you imagine, ten years ago, being able to get a saloon that’s the same size as 3-Series that can outdrag a 911 Turbo at the lights, do 220 miles between a fill-up and accomplish it in serene, zero emissions silence?
The carmakers are taking it seriously too; this week Fiat was the latest in a long line of carmakers to vow it’s going all-electric, while Lotus has confirmed its new Emira will be its final internal-combustion sports car.
But the real rub is in a few statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers a couple of days ago, which give an insight into the battle to become Britain’s best-selling new car.
For years it’s been Ford’s Fiesta that’s out in front, but so far this year it’s been Vauxhall’s rival Corsa that’s snatched victory, with 20,024 finding new homes.
What’s behind this handy PR coup for the chaps at Vauxhall? Well, there have been all sorts of strange things going on as showrooms have opened and closed in line with COVID-19 regulations – including a brief lockdown stint last year when the Tesla Model 3 was the UK’s top seller – but I reckon a big part of it is that the Corsa’s offered in all-electric form while the Fiesta makes do with a mere mild hybrid option. The Corsa-e’s 2,204 sales in the UK so far this year also make the Corsa’s zero emission’s cousin the best-selling small electric car, and it helps give the overall range a comfortable edge over the Fiesta’s 17,700 sales tally.
Strip Corsa-e figures out and the two would be neck and neck.
While sales of battery electric vehicles aren’t in the majority, they’re climbing quickly – according to the SMMT’s figures they now make up 7.5% of the UK’s new car market, up from 4.7% a year ago and it’s now making a big difference to the sales figures.
What I’m really looking forward to, however, is the new Astra-e, which if the press teaser shots are anything to go by looks fantastic.
It’s a car even a fossil fool like me would happily hop into!
David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly